Indonesia off the Beaten Path: Spotlight on Cianjur Regency

Many visitors to Indonesia’s choose Bali as their destination, and, as I found out this March, it’s a remarkable place, well-deserving of its status as Indonesia’s most popular island. However, Indonesia consists of up to 18,306 islands stretching across 3,181 miles/5,120 kilometers, so there is no shortage of idyllic destinations to explore. Looking to explore an alternative Indonesian location away from the throngs of tourists that places like Bali experience year-round? Consider Cianjur.

Puncak Pass Resort, Cianjur, Indonesia

The view from Puncak Pass Resort, near Cianjur (photo credit)

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8 Things I Will & 6 Things I Won’t Miss About Southeast Asia

Eighty days and eight countries later, my Southeast Asia trip has come to an end. I fly to Japan tomorrow and then onward to Paris, with a day in Abu Dhabi in between. For a part of the world I had never given much thought to until the last few years, Southeast Asia has stolen my heart. My next destinations will certainly be a massive change of scenery, so I thought I’d reflect on some of the things I will and won’t miss about Southeast Asia.

Bagan, Myanmar

Sitting atop a pagoda, watching a storm roll in over Bagan, Myanmar earlier this week

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My Balinese Foray into the Blissful World of Spas

My stay at Watermark Hotel & Spa Jimbaran was a purely luxurious way to wrap up my stay in Bali, but the cherry on top? Visiting the hotel’s LiANG Spa for my first ever massage and body treatment.

Watermark Hotel, Jimbaran, Bali, LiANG Spa

Watermark’s LiANG Spa

Call me a philistine, but, prior to my stay at Watermark, never had I ever treated myself to a professional massage. To be honest, I was a bit apprehensive. Lie on a bed and have a stranger touch me all over while rubbing oils into my back? If you’ve never experienced it yourself, you have to admit it sounds pretty weird. But, obviously, most of the world raves about the luxurious pleasure of massages, so it was time to give one a try. Continue reading  

The Best Way to Top off (or Kick off) a Stay in Bali: Watermark Hotel & Spa

While I’ll be the first to defend hostels, there’s nothing quite like treating yourself to a little luxury every once in a while when traveling. Where better to pamper yourself than Bali, so I spent my last two nights on the Indonesian island in the lovely Watermark Hotel & Spa in Jimbaran. Read on for my thoughts!

Watermark Hotel, Jimbaran, Bali, Indonesia

Sunset from Watermark’s rooftop infinity pool

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A Perfectly Peaceful Balinese Escape at Ubud Dedari Villas

Loud, crowded, hot, and humid. That’s how I expected many parts of Southeast Asia to be, and, on my first day in Indonesia, it was already living up to expectations as sweat dripped down my face while I weaved through people hunting desperately for my hostel on a street with no numbers. To be fair, I had kicked off this leg of the trip in Kuta, Bali, which is known mostly for being a drunken backpacker party spot, not exactly the atmosphere I was looking for.

Ubud Dedari Villas pool, Bali, Indonesia

Ahh, but just the solution I needed.

Those preconceptions were quickly whisked away when I arrived in and settled into the small island of Gili Trawangan the next day, the topic for a future post. Returning to Bali after, I gradually began to embrace the road traffic and crowded tourist spots as part of the culture. Nonetheless, a quiet sanctuary was just what I was looking for to prepare myself for the next few months in Asia, and I certainly found it at Ubud Dedari Villas. Continue reading